Speaker apologises after Commons descends into chaos over ceasefire votes


Commons Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle has apologised to MPs after the chamber descended into chaos around a motion calling for a ceasefire in Gaza.

Wednesday was designated as an opposition day for the SNP, which chose to debate the Israel-Hamas war – and sought to persuade MPs to back its calls for an immediate halt to the fighting.

But a controversial decision from Sir Lindsay to allow a Labour amendment to be put to the House led to an uproar from Tory MPs – and eventually saw the government pledging to “play no further part” in proceedings, as well as the SNP not even getting to vote on its original proposal.

After Conservative and SNP politicians stormed out of the chamber in protest, Sir Lindsay returned to the Commons to face his critics, apologising for “how it all ended up” and saying he took “responsibility” for his actions.

But SNP leader Stephen Flynn said he would “take significant convincing” that the Speaker’s position was “not now intolerable”.

Politics live: Speaker sparks fury with amendments decision

Today’s debate was set to be the conclusion of days of drama over whether Labour would change its position on the conflict in the Middle East.

More from Politics

The party initially supported the government’s stance, calling for a pause in the fighting rather than a ceasefire, as it did not believe the latter would be sustainable.

However, after the SNP decided to force the issue to a vote in the Commons, Labour went further – putting forward an amendment calling instead for an “immediate humanitarian ceasefire”, albeit still with its initial caveats that both sides would need to lay down their arms and Israeli hostages would have to be released.

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

Speaker angers SNP and tories

A fresh row erupted on Wednesday after Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle broke with convention to put Labour’s amendment to a vote – as opposition parties cannot usually amend opposition motions, only the government.

Labour sources told Sky News Sir Lindsay – who was a Labour MP before taking on the role of Speaker – had been pressurised by party whips to select it, but a party spokesman denied the claim.

However, Tory MPs accused him of making an “overtly political decision” to select the amendment in order to prevent Sir Keir Starmer facing a rebellion from his backbenchers – who could have supported the SNP’s motion without a Labour option.

Politics Hub with Sophy Ridge

Politics Hub with Sophy Ridge

Sky News Monday to Thursday at 7pm.
Watch live on Sky channel 501, Freeview 233, Virgin 602, the Sky News website and app or YouTube.

Tap here for more

In a surprise move, Leader of the House Penny Mordaunt announced the government would be withdrawing its own amendment to the SNP’s motion – which reiterated the government’s existing position – saying the Conservatives would “play no further part in the decision this House takes on today’s proceedings”.

She said the decision of Sir Lindsay to select the Labour amendment had “undermined the confidence” of MPs in procedures and “raised temperatures in this House on an issue where feelings are already running high and this has put honourable and right honourable members in a more difficult position”.

But due to parliamentary rules, the decision to walk away meant Labour’s amendment would pass and MPs could only vote on the altered motion – stopping the SNP’s original proposal even being voted on.

Articles You May Like

Iran minister downplays attack and says drones used ‘like children’s toys’
Deaths of 48 people in 1981 Irish nightclub fire were unlawful killing, jury rules
Pat Tillman’s mother recalls command blunders behind ex-Cardinals safety’s death
Scottish powersharing under threat after climate target scrapped
Chancellor insists UK’s economy has ‘turned the corner’ – telling public to ‘stick to’ his plan